So, three stories at once! I am possibly biting off more than I can chew. But this should only last three to five chapters, so hopefully not? For those of you who have not read Old School or Jinxed for Life (and I suggest you do, or a lot of this won't make sense), a Dramatis Personae:
Jinx: Jaya Sandavas
Johnny Rancid: Jonathan (Johnny) Sykes
Kid Flash: Wallace (Wally) West
Mentioned in Passing:
See-More: Seymour Evans
Kyd Wykkyd: Elliot Knight
Billy Numerous: William Jones
Mammoth: Montego Lopez
Gizmo: Vito Giovanni
Private HIVE: Bailey Frinze-Perez
Angel: Angelica Imbracht
X.L. Terrestrial: Xilo
A small thing between Old School and Jinxed For Life. That age-old question: How did Jinx finally come to be with Kid Flash?
Jinx looked down at the clothes laid out on what was left of her bed, no thanks to an arrogant red-head who had seen fit to demolish her room.
It was like he had predicted she would have this stupid idea.
She had promised herself that she wouldn't take everything, because there was just no way that she could carry all that bulk. She had limited herself to the green plaid skirt, the gray shorts, the gray, green, and blue sweaters and the special pink and black striped sweater, the dark skinny jeans, a black and a white t-shirt, headbands and hair ties that matched each set. Plain flat shoes, ornamental flat shoes, the heeled suede boots, and stockings. Underwear, bras. Hair care supplies. Make-up. Her top ten CDs (Gizmo had tried and failed to get her on board with MP3-players.) A blank sketchbook, just in case she suddenly felt like drawing for the first time in ages. There was her costume to think of too, but really, she thought, if she was serious about trying out this normal thing, did she really need it?
She was wearing her pink t-shirt and her black skirt, and her head-kicker combat boots because that damn red-head made her want to feel dangerous and able to kick heads. Her hair was down, no gel, and subsequently an annoying cloud of pink wisp flying away past her black headband. She wasn't wearing make-up, and her skin itched without it.
If she took the costume, she would have to leave something else behind. The suede boots? But it was so hard to find shoes for her tiny feet. Maybe a few of the CDs…or all of the CDs.
"You can always buy more stuff later," She told herself. Assuming she could get a job. Assuming she would have money to burn. Assuming any of this shit-for-brains plan worked.
It wasn't even a good plan. It was probably her worst plan ever, but she hadn't run it by Vito so she wasn't sure. She hadn't told anyone what she planned to do. Not even Elliot, who would never tell. Not even Seymour, who would tell her to stay.
It wasn't them. It honestly wasn't them. They were being the same as ever, the same brothers who kept her sane and drove her insane, who listened to her and didn't listen to her because they already knew what she was going to say, because they had been stuck together in this mess of a life for the last five, six years and it was driving them all crazy. Small wonder Angelica had taken off for Los Angeles to "find her roots", and Bailey had developed his awful depression that had made him leave, and Xilo was traipsing about somewhere in another galaxy. They needed space.
And now she did too. Simple as that.
The idea was this. She would stop using her powers, find some way to explain her hair, skin, eyes, appearance in general, and magically start a new, normal life.
The truth was, she really didn't have a plan. At all. She had a generic fantasy in which things somehow worked out, but the actual action which would bring her to that point was completely beyond her.
What she did know was that she had written a concise note telling them, her brothers, that she would be gone for a while, and not to worry because she was perfectly capable of tying her own shoes. And that she didn't want Billy to breathe a word about the dangers of a girl going off by herself, because this was the twenty-first century, damn it, and he could keep his conservative opinions about gender-roles behind his teeth because she was not going to get gang-raped, for the love, she was a big girl now and not even the kind that anyone would target for something like that. And that if anybody tried to track her, especially Elliot, they would have a nasty surprise coming. And that if Seymour asked around, if people came up to Jinx telling her that he was worried…if Montego called up Angelica…if Bailey suddenly snapped out of his depression and came back…if Vito locked himself in his room and refused to come out…
She shook her head.
Anyway, she was staying at Johnny's tonight. Johnny always let people stay at his place, and he was always reliable for keeping secrets. If she asked, he wouldn't tell a soul that he had seen her.
And after that, what then? Mooch off of Johnny until she got a job? Leave town? Get an obscure job through one of Seymour's connections? But those were Seymour's connections. Didn't she have to ask permission or something? She was so used to him offering. She had never just taken off on initiative like this before, without telling him beforehand. Without telling somebody.
It was so stupid. All of it.
What really burned about this whole thing was that it was all because of that stupid red-head.
That Kid Flash.
Mr. You're Better Than This.
She wasn't better. She really wasn't. If she was, none of this would have happened. She would have stayed in India, and her mother wouldn't have given her that perpetual look of confusion, as if she couldn't understand what had happened. Her mother. She thought Jinx didn't know, and Jinx knew perfectly that neither of them was human. Well, fully human. Jinx was half. Her mother? Who knew what she was. A goddess. A monster. Jinx had gone through an encyclopedia once, looked up every kind of being recorded. There was no definite match for what her mother was. A creature of luck, who hid her appearance under coffee-colored skin, and deep, deep eyes…?
Jinx had burned her few pictures of home. Was it strange if she still remembered every detail perfectly?
Jinx glanced at the clock; it was three in the morning. Even her dysfunctional siblings would be in bed by now. The time was right.
She wouldn't take her costume. If she needed it, she could always come back.
She hefted her bag onto her back, wincing at the weight. No, she couldn't get muscles built into her like Montego. She couldn't be born a lean, mean, able-to-ignore-pain fighting machine like Billy. She couldn't build a machine to carry things for her like Vito. She didn't have Seymour's powers of persuasion to convince somebody else to do the work, or Elliot's ability to just make her and the bag suddenly be elsewhere.
She could make things stop working. Or blow up. With extra effort, she could throw thin force fields. She was skinny, and graceful, which didn't amount to beans. She had a tendency to yell instead of employing graceful deportment anyway, so there you go. Her skin was strange. Her eyes scared people. Her stupid, pink (of all colors!) fly-away hair was getting in her eyes, and she couldn't spare a hand to brush the strands away.
The sheer, stupid luck of it all.
He wondered if it was stupid to think he had struck some kind of chord. Made an impression? Given her an idea? It disturbed him that anyone could seem so unhappy. Worse, that someone could seem so unhappy and the people around her could ignore it so easily.
Jerks. It was heartless.
And so shallow. He had just been generally curious at first, but just watching her had put everything into focus. She radiated with energy, angry energy. It bounced off the others as if they were mirrors. There was a serious disconnect; no wonder their team was so dysfunctional. She wanted things; did they even know what ambition was? It was as if they were bored with life. So arrogant. So shallow.
He knew he was being pretty arrogant himself, but he really thought he could do something here. If she wanted that help, he wanted to be there for her. Who else would she get it from? The adults in her life were…well, look at Madame Rouge. That was her idea of an idol. And her peers…forget it. As some passage from some holy text went, the seeds cast on shallow ground don't grow.
But that energy he had seen; it had to mean something. Didn't it? He had never seen that kind of drive in anyone except, well, himself.
But it was true. There was a connection. There had to be.
He had holed himself up in his apartment-courtesy of the Teen Titans, for as long as he wanted to use it-for the night, but he couldn't stop pacing. And thinking. He wondered what else she drew. He wondered what kind of TV she liked to watch. She didn't strike him as a mystery type; she probably figured out who the murderer was halfway through the show. He wondered if she watched TV at all. Maybe she hated TV. Or maybe she was one of those people who could watch a cartoon without making fun of it.
That would be an unlikely dream-come-true.
He made himself sit down and breathe. It was so late in the night. Or early in the morning. Whatever. Jump City was under his jurisdiction. He needed to focus on that. He couldn't remember the last time he had stayed up this late. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so restless.
Wally couldn't remember the last time he had been so excited.
Stupid. It probably wouldn't even go anywhere.
All the same….